Supreme Court Judge Salim Joubran.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Media outlets will have to include parties that do not pass the electoral threshold but receive more than 1 percent of the votes in the polls it publishes from now on, Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Salim Joubran ruled Monday.
Polling companies, which are required by law to report the results of their polls to the Central Elections Committee, will have to include numbers for all parties that do not pass the threshold who were included in the poll, and send the information within 96 hours of its publication.
The ruling came in response to a petition by the Green Leaf party, stating that the media’s policy to not present parties that are not expected to pass the 3.25% threshold in its polls violates election laws requiring the publication of complete poll results.
In addition, Green Leaf petitioned against polling companies, saying that they do not send their findings to the Central Elections Committee as soon as possible, as required by law, and they do not send complete results, including parties that do not pass the threshold.
According to Green Leaf, ignoring how close parties are to passing the threshold creates an impression that they have no chance of being elected to the Knesset, thus convincing voters to choose larger parties.
The media organizations mentioned in the petition responded that they act according to law, and that they do mention parties that are close to passing the threshold. In addition, they said that it is very difficult for them to publish the results for all the parties that run in the election – there were 26 this time, with one pulling out shortly before Election Day – and that doing so will make the polls less accurate by giving parties more exposure than their size warrants.
The polling companies said the law does not specify what “results of the poll” means, so they may present those results however they see fit. In addition, they said, their polls are not uniform, and are conducted according to the needs of their customers.
Joubran wrote that “the situation today in which the petitioner and similar lists of candidates are not mentioned in the polls at all...does not allow the voter to vote in an informed way, as he does not know what the list’s chances of passing the electoral threshold are.”
According to Joubran, this situation harms the principle of equality in the election, giving larger parties a greater chance of getting votes.
“Not including parties that don’t pass the threshold may not be tricking the public, but it certainly goes against the purpose of the poll as a means to inform voters, as much as possible, in relation to lists of candidates running in the election,” he added.